Research Fellowships

Apply for a UNU-BIOLAC research fellowship

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UNU-BIOLAC is accepting applications for 3-month fellowships in research centres in Latin America and the Caribbean, LAC (to be developed in the first half of 2025). Following our mission to build biotechnology capacities within the LAC region, UNU-BIOLAC aims to help prepare and capacitate professionals through high-level, short-term internships. These activities are to be co-funded by UNU-BIOLAC throughout the LAC countries and, in some cases, in other parts of the world, to be carried out in highly reputed research centres in diverse fields of biotechnology.


Applications are sought from LAC graduate students and researchers who pursue the highest level of research excellence with a demonstrated passion for delivering social impact in biotechnology. All candidates must have been accepted by the receiving institution and supported by a sending institution before proceeding with the application. Please contact them well in advance to submitting your application.


Each UNU-BIOLAC fellow is expected to perform specialised research in biotechnology at a laboratory in the LAC region for three months.

All fellows must deliver a final technical report that includes their main findings and fulfil all other initial requests to complete their fellowships. Among others, 1) to present a written statement of achieved objectives, 2) to record a testimonial video about the experience, and 3) to upload content on social media reflecting the experimental work carried out through the research stay and the expansion of their collaborative and professional network. It is expected that if the results are published, UNU-BIOLAC will receive due recognition.

To perform their research fellowship, each funded fellow will receive a single stipend of USD 4000 (3-month internships) for travel and living expenses. Insurance will also be paid for by UNU-BIOLAC separately. Hosting institutions could also apply for funds through bench fees of USD 500 per visit per month for the 3-month internships.

Research fields

This call is open to graduate students and researchers/academics from LAC whose research focus is biotechnology sensu stricto. These must be engaged in active research or pursuit of new research opportunities in, but not limited to, high-throughput and deep sequencing of genomes, metagenomic analysis and the discovery, characterisation and/or expression of new genes and biological functions in homologous or heterologous systems, creation and use of new biomaterials, engineering of genes, genomes, tissues and organs, whole organisms or even complete communities, drug discovery, vaccine development, omics technologies, fight against disease in plants and animals (including humans), etc.

For 2024, UNU-BIOLAC is encouraging fellows to delve into 1) the use of biotechnology as a means to solve problems of a scientific nature and 2) the generation of biotechnological solutions/products derived from basic or applied science.


The UNU-BIOLAC Fellow activity is committed to biotechnology for social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, favoured fellows are expected to train others at their place of origin, promote the impact of their research to a broad audience, engage in policy debate, and foster international and interdisciplinary biotechnological research.


31 March 2024

Application Process

All applicants should download and fill out the UNU-BIOLAC application form in English, which will be submitted with all mandatory documentation to

Please refrain from submitting any application that is not related to biotechnology or is not complete. Contact the Programme only to submit your proposal or request specific clarifications. The rules will not change to meet individual demands, nor will third parties be invited or allowed to influence the outcome of the selection process.

The email must have the following format:

*Subject: Fellowship Application 2024: “Name of the applicant”

Email content:

  • Name of the applicant
  • Short explanation of the biotechnological nature of the proposal (no more than 300 words)
  • Proposed dates for the Fellowship

Mandatory attachments: 

All applications will be reviewed by at least three international evaluators and the UNU-BIOLAC’s Programme Head. It is required that all documents be submitted in English. The final decision will be announced the following month after UNU-BIOLAC receives the application.


  1. Please be informed that incomplete applications will be automatically rejected. Hence, applicants must be careful to meet all the requirements listed above.
  2. We recommend cleaning your cache and cookies before downloading the form. This is to avoid downloading an old format. All applicants must send the Working Plan or the application will be automatically rejected.


UNU-BIOLAC is an equal-opportunity institution. No applicant for our academic or research activities shall be discriminated against in any term or condition because of gender, race, colour, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, sex, or sexual orientation.

Frequently asked questions

  • Who is eligible for a fellowship?

    Only citizens from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) currently living in the Americas are eligible for UNU-BIOLAC fellowships. Fellowships do not cover long-term study, such as master’s degrees or PhD programmes.

  • Where can fellowships and/or academic activities take place?

    The activities funded by UNU-BIOLAC can only occur at institutions located in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

  • Is it possible to apply for a grant from UNU-BIOLAC to attend a course?

    No. Short-term fellowship grants offered by UNU-BIOLAC are for conducting research for three months in a country different from the applicant's home institution. Fellowships are not designed for participation in scientific courses or meetings only, even those sponsored by UNU-BIOLAC. A limited number of Travel grants from UNU-BIOLAC are available following a different application.

  • When is the fellowship application period?

    There are two ordinary calls per year: March and September. All applications will be made a year in advance.

  • What does the UNU-BIOLAC fellowship cover?

    UNU-BIOLAC’s funds are a fixed amount of USD 4,000 (3-month fellowships) to be spent by the fellow for all research activity needs: air ticket, lodging, food, and transportation, among others. The fellow will also be provided with health insurance for the duration of the fellowship.

  • When will I receive my fellowship funding?

    Depending on the case, the funds will be sent directly to the fellow during the first days of the fellowship. If that is impossible, they will be paid for through the UNDP’s offices in the receptor country during the first weeks of the activity. Considering this, it is important that the fellow can cover any expenses before the fund is received.

  • What are counterpart funds and how much is needed?

    Counterpart funds may come from another institution that financially supports your research so that you can afford other expenses that may arise during your stay. It is important to mention that counterpart funds can cover air tickets, as UNU-BIOLAC’s funds will not be received before the research starts. UNU-BIOLAC will not be responsible if the funds provided are insufficient for the living expenses during the internship.

  • What is a bench fee and how can I apply for it?

    This is part of the funds that the fellow is awarded for the research and is to be received by the host institution laboratory. USD 500 per month can be used for laboratory expenses and other related needs during the research of the 3-month fellowships. The money is to be delivered after each month ends. To apply for bench fee funding, complete the Bench Fee Request Form for each month (up to three times). 

  • What is a vendor form?

    This is a UNU form used to submit banking information to allow for the transfer of the fellowship funding. If the host institution is to request the Bench fee, the fellow, or the institution, must provide their banking information.

  • Should I justify my expenses?

    Fellows are not required to report expenses, only the final research results through the Final Report.

  • Can I receive payment of funds through a personal account?

    Yes. In other cases, however, if the fellow has no international bank account, funds must be transferred through host institutions or a UNDP office.

  • When will I have access to the funds?

    The funds will be available upon your arrival at the host country’s UNDP office.

  • What documents will I need to retrieve my funds?

    For most UNDP offices, you must present your passport or photo ID. If further actions or support are necessary, we will let you know.

  • When can I do my research fellowship?

    Calls for 3-month fellowship proposals occur twice per year, a year before the actual activity. All proposals should stipulate a three-month schedule.

  • Is there any special documentation required for my fellowship?

    You must visit the embassy/consulate of the country you are meant to visit to obtain more information regarding the mandatory visa requirements or entry documents. UNU-BIOLAC does not sponsor any visas.

  • When should I confirm my fellowship dates?

    You must send a letter signed by your host supervisor confirming your stay dates at least one month before your fellowship starts.

  • If I already opted for a fellowship and it was granted, can I apply for another fellowship?

    No, only in exceptional cases, very well justified, UNU-BIOLAC will consider granting a second fellowship grant.

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